EU Trade Agreements with Emerging Markets: Is the EU too ambitious?


In the past couple of years, the EU opened trade and investment negotiations with a large number of partners, including many that can be termed as emerging economies. While some negotiations were completed, they were mainly with developed economies like Korea, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. On the other hand, negotiations with predominantly emerging markets are either taking very long to conclude (China and Mercosur for example) or are stuck in very long ratification processes (such as with Vietnam), and some have even been put on hold (like India, the Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia).

This roundtable will discuss the current state of EU Trade Policy and examine options for future action. The event will look at whether the EU is taking a highly ambitious approach by placing too many complex political and economic demands on partner countries, which risks that certain agreements might never be concluded. Inversely, it will examine if the EU should opt for less demanding but realistic deals that may ensure quicker entry into force, and thus leaving certain business interests out.

Considering that Trade and Investment Agreements with the EU can bring many benefits to emerging economies such as growth, jobs, and higher social, environmental and production standards, it is timely to analyse what is the best way forward for EU Trade Policy to contribute to development in Europe and globally: should the EU go “all in” or take a “prudent risk”?

This event will examine:

  • What is the current state of EU Trade Policy?
  • Why are so many emerging economies not finalising trade agreements with the EU?
  • Are there too many political and economic demands that the developing economies cannot accept?
  • How can we move forward?


  • Tomas Baert, Head of Unit for Trade Strategy, DG Trade, European Commission
  • Mathias Kende, First Secretary (Trade Policy), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium
  • Renato Pacheco e Silva Bacellar Neto, President European Chamber of Commerce in Brazil (CAE) / Chair, European Business Organisation Worldwide Network
  • Almut Roessner, Executive Director, European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam / Secretary General, European Business Organisation Worldwide Network


  • Christian Ewert, Director General, amfori 



I look forward to attending this! Best, Ralph